Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 2.05
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.4. Public Monuments in Greece: Local Communities between Memory and Oblivion

Post-1945 Europe was built on policies of oblivion and unification. Each nation-state capitalized on victories, heroes and heroic events, resistance, endurance and national values, in order to sustain its survival and continuation in the highly antagonistic Cold War environment. This involved the suppression, often violent, of different narratives or memories. It was after decades that the memory of World War II began to be elaborated at a local level and revisited. As every community in the continent had different, and often conflicting memories of the period, various versions of the past came to the foreground and were celebrated with the erection of monuments in city centers and memorial sites, which differed significantly from those of the first post-1945 decades. The Holocaust and its different representations since the end of the War across Europe is a well-known such example. As political ideas and international agendas changed, national narrations were also revisited.Tracking the changes in the approach of the national and international trauma of World War II in Greece, through the erection of monuments in public space, is the focus of the project "WaRs: War and Resistance Monuments in Greece: Documentation of and Historical Approach to Public Monuments, 1945-today", which is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation. The erection of public monuments is a delicate political issue that relies heavily on power balances, the management of community memories and state policies and is, therefore, subjected to constant change. When and why did policies in Greece change to allow the erection of monuments that celebrated different memories than the ones dictated by the official, state policies? Which communities began to tell their story of the pa ...

NUBS 2.05 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Post-1945 Europe was built on policies of oblivion and unification. Each nation-state capitalized on victories, heroes and heroic events, resistance, endurance and national values, in order to sustain its survival and continuation in the highly antagonistic Cold War environment. This involved the suppression, often violent, of different narratives or memories. It was after decades that the memory of World War II began to be elaborated at a local level and revisited. As every community in the continent had different, and often conflicting memories of the period, various versions of the past came to the foreground and were celebrated with the erection of monuments in city centers and memorial sites, which differed significantly from those of the first post-1945 decades. The Holocaust and its different representations since the end of the War across Europe is a well-known such example. As political ideas and international agendas changed, national narrations were also revisited.
Tracking the changes in the approach of the national and international trauma of World War II in Greece, through the erection of monuments in public space, is the focus of the project "WaRs: War and Resistance Monuments in Greece: Documentation of and Historical Approach to Public Monuments, 1945-today", which is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation. The erection of public monuments is a delicate political issue that relies heavily on power balances, the management of community memories and state policies and is, therefore, subjected to constant change. When and why did policies in Greece change to allow the erection of monuments that celebrated different memories than the ones dictated by the official, state policies? Which communities began to tell their story of the past? In which ways did the memory of the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949 affect these stories? How was the Holocaust remembered after the War was over and in the beginning of the 21st century?



Anna Maria Droumpouki, Senior researcher, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Shaping Holocaust Memory in Greece

Τhe Holocaust in Greece extracted a very heavy toll from the Jewish population -about 84 percent of the community was destroyed, one of the highest annihilation percentages in Nazi Europe. Entire communities were wiped out, yet on a local scale there were at times remarkable survival rates. Τhe place and function of the vectors and sites of memory of World War II and of the Holocaust of Greek Jews occupy a rather marginal position in Greek memorial culture. Τhis paper will reflect upon the ways in which Jewish communities in Greece build their narrative, shape and reshape their memories and construct their social identity through Holocaust monuments. Cultural production of memorials is an integral part of Jewish communities that defines social behavior through the ages. For this reason, sites of memory, as well as their successive survivals and transformations to this day, will be the center of this analysis.


Alexandros Teneketzis, Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Patras, Greece

Localizing Public Memory. Interpretations of World War II in Greece and their Effect on the Construction of Monuments.

One of the characteristics of the memory process is its vitality and dynamics. In this process, the changes and redefinitions of historical events in the public space are the result of correlations and conflicts of groups and collectives that either have the responsibility and management or wish to publicize their versions of a memorable event. In the Greek case after the end of World War II, the local societies took an active part in the construction of myths and immunization mechanisms of a difficult memory, which sometimes went along with the national politics and narratives and sometimes caused ruptures depending on the current political circumstances. The public space of a square was the preeminent scene where collectives and/or local communities attempted to intervene and create their own version of the memory of the War. This paper examines the transformations of memory through monuments and studies local influences on their construction. It will present the power relations in cities other than Athens, relations that in some cases depend on local developments (relations between the main ethnic group and minorities, as in the case of Thrace) and in others on wider national or international upheavals (as in the case of the recognition of the Communist Party after the end of the 1967-1974 Dictatorship in Greece or of the disillusionment of socialist utopian visions after the end of the Cold War).


Konstantinos Argianas, Adjunct Lecturer of Art History, Cyprus University of Technology

Transformations of Memories and Commemorations of World War II in Greece. The Public Monuments of Kefalonia Island

This paper aims to scrutinize the formations and transformations of the World War II commemoration in public space in Greece, presenting the island of Kefalonia as a case study. Focusing on the construction, destruction, and alteration of public monuments on the Greek island from the 1970s until today, I will explore the conflicting politics of collective memory of World War II in various local and national political communities. I am particularly interested in presenting cases of change in approaching monuments, such as the erection of the oversized statue (1972) of the dictator Ioannis Metaxas (1936-1941) along with its public demolition a decade later, and the recent petition of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn to reestablish the monument (2012), or the construction of the War Memorial for the fallen Italian soldiers (1978), and the erection of several monuments dedicated to the left-wing National Resistance, during the period of the political hegemony of the socialist party PASOK (the 1980s - 1990s). The above-mentioned cases provide us the opportunity to trace different narratives about the same past by the various local political communities; narratives intertwined with opposing political ideologies as each of them sought to impose its interpretation of the memory of the War through public monuments.


Kostas Korres, PhD Candidate in History, University of the Aegean, Greece

War and Resistance Monuments in the Public Memory of World War II in Greece. The case of the War and Resistance Monuments erected in the Kallithea area of Athens, Greece.

The history of War and Resistance Monuments provides an exemplary field of research to understand history and the management of public memory in post-1945 Greece. The public monuments for World War II and Resistance in the first post-1945 decades in Greece, were determined by the result of the Civil War 1946-1949 that followed. Communist Resistance was banned from the official Greek state national patriotic narrative and, therefore, so was its commemoration in public space. Decades later, after the fall of the Junta regime (1967-1974) and especially during the 1980's, state national narratives were revisited and communist resistance monuments appeared in public space. Recently, a new change in public memory of World War II has taken place.

In this paper I will explore the constant change of approaches to War and Resistance Monuments by examining specific examples from Kallithea, an area of Athens, Greece, from the 1950's until today. I will present: (i) the Monument for the Fallen of Kallithea (1959) which expressed the Greek conservative, anticommunist politics at the time and complied with the Cold War rhetoric, (ii) the Monument for the Fallen at the Blockade of Kallithea (2000), commemorating the victims of one of the most massive resistance movements in Greece (1944), and (iii) the Soviet Soldiers Monument (2005), dedicated to three Russian Resistance Fighters of the Red Army, a monument which was vandalized after the beginning of the war in the Ukraine. 

Postdoctoral researcher
,
Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Assistant Professor of Art History
,
Department of History and Archaeology, University of Patras, Greece.
Postdoctoral researcher
,
University of Ioannina, Greece
Historian, PhD Candidate at the University of the Aegean
,
University of the Aegean, Greece
 Areti Adamopoulou
Professor of Art History
,
University of Ioannina, Greece
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